The bottom of the world..
Well I suppose after being here for a little over a week I should update this. I really had to think about when I actually got here, time has been passing by slowly, but quickly all the same. I arrived in Chile on February 18th somewhat before our group’s 22nd arrival. I have a friend who has been in Viña since January so I was coming to hang out with her for a little bit. We explored the city and just relaxed which was really nice.
On the 22nd, I went to meet our program director, Vivi, and we went to meet the rest of the group in Santiago at the airport and headed to our Orientation location in Olmué. Olmué is a pretty small town about an hour away from Viña and two hours from Santiago. While there, we stayed at somewhat of a mountain resort compound. We had a lot of necessary information sessions and learned more about our classes we get to take while here (you know, that whole “school” thing). We took a placement test and lots of other fun things. We also got to take salsa and merengue classes while in Olmué, which let me tell you, are somewhat difficult but so much fun if you have a sense of humor. We returned on Saturday, but in the morning , instead of another information session we went to el Parque Nacional la Campana and it was a gorgeous day!! Sun and blue sky as you can see below…It obviously was a rough day… (hope all you Michiganders are enjoying the snow 😉
After our hike, we were off to Viña to meet our families. I had moved in with my family a day early, so we had already met a little bit, but everyone was so nervous to meet theirs—as I was too! It’s an interesting thing meeting complete strangers who you will be living with for the next 5 or 6 months.
Since Saturday, it’s been fun settling into a little bit of a routine with my family as far as meals go. I’ve had some free time to go to the beach and explore but it’s nice to build a relationship with the family too. The past two nights, I’ve been able to go walking with my Chileno Padre, Jorge, and that’s been really awesome to see the city at night with all the lights.
We are in the midst of our orientation at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, and it is kind of confusing at times but pretty interesting to see all the programs where people come from to study here in Chile. It’s an interesting comparison with IFSA and the other groups because our group is much smaller than the others—only about 16 people. But I like it much more from what I’ve seen. We all get along so far, thank heavens, and I think the smaller group avoids cliques and allows you to form closer friendships. I’m sure the majority of people have a great time, but I just think we all click pretty well.
Tomorrow is our tour of the campus which is bound to be interesting—as is every day here in the beautiful Vina del Mar and Valparaiso